Brinker International (EAT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

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Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Although shares of Brinker have outperformed the industry in a year’s time, earnings estimates for the current quarter and year have been stable over the past two months, limiting the stock's upside potential. Also, high costs associated with restaurant operations might hurt its profitability in the future. The company is plagued with intense competition characterizing the industry. Various sales building efforts are also causing the company to see dented margins as cost from these efforts are high. However, we are encouraged by Brinker’s aggressive expansion and sales-building initiatives along with increased investments in technology and continual focus on take-out businesses.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Telsey Advisory Group reiterated a market perform rating and issued a $53.00 price target (up from $49.00) on shares of Brinker International in a report on Wednesday, January 9th. ValuEngine upgraded Brinker International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, January 9th. Raymond James upgraded Brinker International from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded Brinker International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, January 7th. Finally, Barclays dropped their price objective on Brinker International from $50.00 to $48.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a report on Thursday, November 29th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $46.31.

Shares of EAT opened at $49.07 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.02, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.53 and a beta of 0.25. Brinker International has a fifty-two week low of $32.03 and a fifty-two week high of $54.14.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The restaurant operator reported $0.47 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $753.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $756.40 million. Brinker International had a negative return on equity of 23.89% and a net margin of 4.52%. Brinker International’s revenue was up 1.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.42 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate that Brinker International will post 3.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 27th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 7th were issued a dividend of $0.38 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 6th. This represents a $1.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.10%. Brinker International’s payout ratio is 43.43%.

In related news, EVP Steve Provost sold 11,985 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.00, for a total value of $611,235.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 27,568 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,405,968. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Wyman Roberts sold 35,478 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.55, for a total value of $1,686,978.90. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 149,991 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,132,072.05. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 55,539 shares of company stock valued at $2,692,195. Insiders own 2.72% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in EAT. Millennium Management LLC increased its holdings in Brinker International by 2,460.9% in the 2nd quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 576,652 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $27,449,000 after purchasing an additional 601,077 shares in the last quarter. Copper Rock Capital Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Brinker International in the 3rd quarter valued at $23,778,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its holdings in Brinker International by 1,919.7% in the 3rd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 513,000 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $23,972,000 after purchasing an additional 487,600 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc increased its holdings in Brinker International by 8.0% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 4,909,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $229,433,000 after purchasing an additional 365,235 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Brinker International by 8.0% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,909,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $229,433,000 after purchasing an additional 365,235 shares in the last quarter.

Brinker International Company Profile

Brinker International, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, owns, develops, operates, and franchises casual dining restaurants in the United States and internationally. As of June 27, 2018, it owned, operated, or franchised 1,686 restaurants comprising 997 company-owned restaurants and 689 franchised restaurants under the Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy brand names.

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